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We are excited to announce the Outlook Social Connector!
The Outlook Social Connector is a set of new features to help keep track of your friends and colleagues while enabling you to grow your professional network. The Outlook Social Connector is available now as part of the Microsoft Office 2010 Beta.
The Outlook Social Connector (OSC) brings social views of your colleagues and friends right to your Inbox. As you read your e-mail messages, glance down at the new People Pane to see the picture, name, and title of the sender. A rich, aggregated collection of information about the sender is included.
The OSC presents useful information including:
You’ll see rich information about your colleagues’ activity such as profile updates to their MySite, documents and websites they tag, and changes to their personal status message.
Know who you’re meeting with. Use the OSC’s Gallery View to see all of the people you’ll be interacting with in an upcoming meeting:
One click on any of those pictures puts you into the single-person view, providing easy access to their activities and communication history. You can easily switch in and out of Gallery View by clicking on the little double-arrow icon in the upper-right corner of the People Pane.
Build your network. The OSC makes it easy to grow your network; by clicking the ‘+’ symbol underneath a person’s picture, you can send a request to be their colleague on any of the networks you are connected to. The OSC also automatically synchronizes your colleagues from each of your connected networks and saves them as contacts in Outlook. This allows you to easily send messages, call, or synchronize contacts just as you would any other Outlook contact.
Open Connectivity. The OSC in Outlook 2010 will connect by default to the new social networking experiences in SharePoint 2010. We are happy to announce that connectivity to any network, including SharePoint, is built using our public ‘provider’ extensibility platform:
This means that anyone can build a provider to connect the OSC to a social network, their company’s line-of-business applications, or literally any system that can produce streams of activity about its users. The SDK will be publically available tomorrow on MSDN, and my colleague Randy Byrne will be making a more detailed post on provider development with links to the SDK at that time. We are excited to make this platform public and are looking forward to feedback as our customers begin developing providers for their networks and business solutions.
Go Live! Next year we will be releasing a provider for Windows Live, enabling you to connect to your friends and colleagues on Windows Live right inside of Outlook:
You see pictures, profile updates, and personal status messages of your friends from Windows Live Messenger. See their Office application and document activity through SkyDrive integration, and the aggregation of dozens of other third-party sites from around the world.
Are you working with other social networks? You bet! Outlook has partnered with LinkedIn, the online professional networking site, to provide an amazing connected experience for our shared customers. The LinkedIn team has built a provider for the OSC using our public SDK, providing you with pictures and activity information for your colleagues directly from their network. Simply click on a message from a co-worker to discover what new connections they’ve made on LinkedIn, or click the LinkedIn badge underneath a photo to jump right to a person’s profile page on the Web.
Keep watching the Outlook Team Blog for an announcement about when the LinkedIn provider is available to Outlook 2010 users. You can learn more about the LinkedIn provider here on their website.
Customize it! Does your company use a large system for managing information about its users or customers? By building an OSC provider to connect to your ERP or CRM solution, you can easily sync down people-related information into Outlook and see it in the People Pane when you’re reading your mail. Randy will have more information in his post about how to build a custom provider.
Let’s recap! The Outlook Social Connector, new to the Outlook 2010 Beta, provides you with:
On behalf of the entire Outlook Social Connector feature team, thanks for trying the Outlook 2010 Beta. Have fun using the OSC!
Michael Affronti Social Networking Addict & Outlook Program Manager
More info on the Outlook Social Connector:
The Office Show: Outlook Social ConnectorAs you wish: More about the Outlook Social ConnectorHow to install the Outlook Social Connector (video)Connect your Inbox to Facebook and Windows Live with the Outlook Social ConnectorImportant: Update your Outlook Facebook ConnectorWhat I love about the Outlook Social Connector (and why I think you'll love it too!)Boost productivity...with social media?Why Outlook is not just strictly business Get a load of this: Facebook in Outlook!Social Connector for Microsoft Outlook Video: Getting the most out of the Outlook Social Connector
I'm looking forward to seeing the adoption rates of this tool as well as what other providers are defined. I think it could be a killer social tool for many organizations. Having used the LinkedIn tools for Outlook it is amazing how quickly a tool like this can become crucial to daily activities.
Let's recap something: Rich history - See a rich communications history for each person that sends you messages with one-click access to the most recent messages and attachments. and let's add:
... AND ALL THE MESSAGES YOU DELETED! Hey, I had my reasons to delete messages (be it privacy or disk-space) and I'm not really happy to find them accidentally by clicking at something, connected to social networks (even if I trust, that my messages are NOT sent there .. are they .. for any reasons?)! And I'm really exactly that unhappy about not knowing where these messages are saved (I'll have to search now) .. and NO way to delete the messages there .. I can read them, flag them, answer them .. just as if they were in my Inbox!! .. and let's recap .. I deleted them weeks ago! Tasso
This must be the thing that's causing me to have multiple News Feed folders in Outlook 2010 Beta. I delete them and they soon reappear. So I disabled the Outlook Social Connector for now. Hope that by the time you've got Facebook on board you've resolved this issue so that I can enable the Outlook Social Connector. Thanks!
The new Outlook Social Connector... a really great tool, I've seen this before hm... ah it is something also xobni uses ;), but when microsoft learns how to benefit from others the right way there is nothing to worry about. But the people pane and the whole OSC-stuff can't replace a well-elaborated search, something which is still missing in Outlook. So I will stick to my search tool lookeen (www.lookeen.net).
I am having the same problem with the multiple instances of the "News Feed" folder popping up in my hotmail account.
This is the best thing I've ever seen in my whole life (seriously).
Facebook and Xbox Live Support is what i'm looking for with this
Was looking for the SDK - how can I find it?
You might want to also try RedCritter. It works with Outlook 2007 and 2010. It has social Apps and a lot more. Silverlight developers can even create their own Apps that run inside Outlook. You can download it for free at www.redcritter.com
Just downloaded the beta yesterday and it upgraded me from Office 2007. I have thumbnail photos on every one of my contacts. Yet, they don't show up in the the Social Connector, nor do they display in the upper right corner of emails (they displayed in Outlook 2007). For a non-techie like me, any suggestions?
Try www.meshtop.com, it has Facebook connector.
When is this feature be available to test? Since announcing this service, Google has already come out with their own WORKING social connector. I'm most interested in getting a LinkedIn connector which I know they announced but have yet to see a way to connect to it.
I am running Microsoft Office 2010 (32-bit) on my new laptop which is running Windows 7 Professional (64-bit). I just installed set up the Outlook Social Connector with my LinkedIn account. I can successfully see my contacts' LinkedIn activity, however, cannot see their profile pictures at the bottom of e-mail messages. Can you please let me know how I can fix this so that the profile pictures are displayed?
This is very exciting - is this a client only add-in or does it require connectivity to the exchange servers. The reason I ask is to ascertain whether it would be suitable in the Office 365 environment using no on-premise Exchange servers?
Do I have to upgrade to Office 2010 for this?